CV boot camp: How to make a great impression


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The Independent Online

Keep it brief

Your CV shouldn’t take up more than two sides of A4 paper, and ideally should fit on to one. “Employers spend an average of eight seconds looking at each CV, so it needs to be concise and to the point,” says Mike Fetters of

Be truthful

If you claim to have experience in a particular area, be prepared to back it up at interview with examples.

Include specifics on the CV, too: if you put “web design” as a skill, make sure you include links to examples of your sites – and make sure they’re running smoothly.

One size doesn’t fit all

Your CV should be tailored to each job you apply for, making it clear why your skills and experience – academic, professional and personal – fit the job spec and make you the person to solve the HR department’s hiring problem.

Create a 3D CV

Show the whole person, not just grades and employment histories. What skills did you pick up from uni societies? How did participating in sport help you develop?

“If you can show that you surmounted problems, you’ll get job interviews,” says Mike Hill of Graduate Prospects.

Watch it like a hawk

When you’re sending out multiple applications and versions of CVs, it’s easy for mistakes to creep in. Check spelling and formatting every time, twice, making sure you’re sending the right CV for the right job. Getting fundamentals like these wrong is the fastest way to the “discard” pile.